One of the most talked about players in world golf is to get his big chance after being invited to make his PGA Tour debut in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on February 7-10.
The event normally attracts swathes of spectators to watch celebrities in action along with stars of the tour, but this year one of the golfers will carry more intrigue than most—and that will be Hosung Choi, two-time winner of the Japan Golf Tour.
If you’ve been living under a rock recently and have never heard of the 45-year-old South Korean, Choi has become golf’s most viral star. He is that golfer with the bizarre swing—something described as the “fisherman swing” in his homeland—and a bit of a Happy Gilmour type character. But he will get his big chance in the United States after accepting an invitation to play the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“I never imagined this day would come,” said Choi, who is one of the most viewed golfers online thanks to his so-called ‘crazy swing.’ “I took up golf at the age of 25, after a hard life. I’m fully aware that none of this would be possible without the love and support of my fans. I will of course do my best, wherever I go.”
It was his fans who campaigned via a petition to get Choi his big chance, first trying to secure him a place in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie and the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
It appears to have worked because Choi has landed his chance to impress on the biggest of stages in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, after which he could yet line up in the Phoenix Open where the huge and raucous crowds would love watching him play.
It might have been Choi’s swing that has got him known across the globe, but as unusual as it might be it hasn’t stopped him winning four times as a professional.
He won twice on the Korean Golf Tour—the SBS Hana Tour Championship in 2008 and Lake Hills Open in 2011—before graduating onto the Japan Golf Tour.
Choi then won the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship, an event co-sanctioned with the OneAsia Tour in 2013 before winning the Casio World Open last year at the age of 45.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am will take place across three California courses at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterrey Peninsula Country Club from February 7-10.
One lucky amateur or celebrity will get to play with Choi with each of the 156 professional pairing up with an amateur across the first three days in a better ball format.
Those three rounds take place on each of the host courses with the professionals also playing a stroke play format as they do for all tournaments.
The top 60 professionals after the 54 holes then play Pebble Beach once more to determine the overall winner, while the lowest 25 teams also continue on to a fourth day.